A new monthly appointment with a selection of the best smartphone games.
We remind you that the purpose of the column is to offer an overview of some of the best games you can find on Android and iOS, without having the presumption to treat the only good titles. For this reason we invite you to share with us your advice and suggestions in the comments. Having said that it is useless to go any further: let’s start!
1. Pokémon Go
Let’s start with Pokémon GO, a title certainly not unknown to our public, but that deserves to be part of this list, also in light of the many that emerged in recent months.
There are many innovations that have taken place in just under 3 years of life, to the point that today’s game is almost unrecognizable compared to the first version. At the time it was an almost empty title, with the only possibility of capturing first-generation Pokémon and conquering local gyms.
Today, in May 2019, we are faced with a number of events that are even too close, to the point that several players have begun to ask Niantic to reduce the pace, as these often end up overlapping each other. Most events are related to the release of the chromatic (shiny) forms of certain Pokémon, following themes ranging from the season to the release of a specific game or movie linked to the franchise.
But what are the real news related to gameplay? Let’s try to briefly tell what has changed in these 3 years. First, let’s start with the Raids, or the timed fights that appear in the gyms and allow the players to join forces to challenge and capture Pokémon of various levels. It is here that we find the possibility of obtaining the rare legendary Pokémon (which are changed every month) or even the rarer ones like Mewtwo and Deoxys, even if the latter can only be obtained with special Raids, called Raid EX.
Then came a real friends list, which allows players to send special gifts to their friends and keep track of their activities. Interacting it will be possible to increase the level of friendship to unlock bonuses related to raid fights, PVP fights and exchanges. Yes, because now it is possible to trade Pokémon among coaches or organize PVP fights (even at a distance, if the friendship level is high enough). Exchanges also introduce the mechanics of Lucky Pokémon, which is a causal bonus that makes the creature’s upgrade less expensive.
The PVP fights also have a PVE counterpart and in this case the opponents will be the 3 team leaders of the game. Even these challenges, like the PVP ones, offer daily bonuses, however in this case the level of challenge is particularly low and can be seen more as a training to test their teams. This type of struggle presents mechanics totally different from those of the Raids, given that they introduce an additional level of strategy given the impossibility of dodging and the presence of 2 barriers that allow to block the most powerful attacks.
Another very important news concerns the daily and weekly quest system, related to Field Research and Special Research. The first are simple daily missions that can be obtained by turning the Pokéstops: completing at least one a day allows you to put 1 point on a folder that, once completed (takes 7 days) allows you to capture a legendary Pokémon.
This allows those who can’t face the Raids not to stay too far behind and still have access to the legendaries. The Special Researches, on the other hand, present real quests (with a lot of mini plot) that lead us to the capture of mysterious Pokémon like Mew, Celebi and Meltan, or of less common creatures like Spiritomb. The whole mission system is always up to date and constantly offers new challenges.
Another much awaited novelty is the Synchro-Adventure. This allows you to take advantage of all the kilometers recorded via Google Fit (Android) or the Salute app (iOS), even if the game is closed or in the background. In this way you will be able to avoid consuming the battery of your phone, but you will still be able to hatch eggs or gain candy for your partner. Furthermore, each week you will be rewarded with prizes based on the distance traveled.
Remaining on the subject of functionality, we also point out the new AR + shooting mode that allows you to take photos of Pokémon at any time: just let it exit the ball to be able to capture it from different angles. This function also allows you to access a new capture mechanic: some Pokémon, in fact, love to do real photoboming and when that happens you can find it in the game map to face it and capture it.
Beyond that there are lots of other additions, especially regarding the events. Among these we find the monthly Community Days, special Raids that appear only for a few days, global challenges and much more. There is also the continuous updating of the customization accessories for the avatar, the possibility of changing the name, the connection with Nintendo Switch and a lot of other things that make the title always alive and engaging.
Purchases in the app concern completely marginal and secondary elements and the currency required can also be obtained simply by playing. We report that Samsung has released in the last hours a “modified” version of the client on its Galaxy Store, in which the cost of IAP is reduced compared to the standard one. Not bad, if you have a smartphone from the Seoul home.
But the most interesting aspect of Pokémon GO is related to the support offered by local and non-local communities. Telegram is the main tool that accompanies each player of PoGo and it is here that the groups of regional, provincial or even city players are found, where the coaches organize their Raids, meetings, events and even PVP tournaments following the rules of the Classified Tournaments Silph.
In short, Pokémon GO starts on your smartphone and ends up in the streets, squares or any other meeting place. This is an experience that goes far beyond the game as an end in itself: install it, look for your local Telegram group and get ready for Raid, local PVP challenges and many events created by the community (photography competitions, capture challenges, hatching eggs and much more). Now that summer is approaching it is the ideal time to take up the game again if you had left it when it was little more than an empty shell.
2. IMPLOSION – NEVER LOSE THE HOPE
Let’s move on to Implosion – Never Lose the Hope, a title made by Rayark (authors of Sdorica, Cytus, DeeMo, Mandora) that perfectly reflects the concept of mobile gaming that looks at the console world.
It is in fact a paid hack & slash – on Android you can download a demo and then buy it later -, working even without a connection and supporting external controllers. Lots of positive qualities that can only catch the attention of all those who are looking for a single player title that meets these requirements, now difficult to find all together in one game.
The adventure is science fiction and puts us in the shoes of Jake, the pilot of an Avalon robotic armor, who investigates a mysterious threat that could lead to the extinction of the few humans still surviving the destruction and conquest of the Earth by of XADA, which took place 20 years earlier. The game offers a very accurate and fluid technical sector – only some animations are affected by the weight of the years – and is able to keep us company for more than ten hours, considering the main campaign and the hunting of medals necessary to unlock the armor additional.
Implosion has different elements of customization for our Avalon, since we could choose which offensive skills to equip and which statistics to favor in the construction of the build. All ARK upgrades can be collected within levels, whose structure is perhaps not among the most inspired, but which are nevertheless rich in secondary areas to be explored and areas accessible only if certain statistics have been increased.
The whole title can be approached both in normal and difficult mode and this allows to increase the replayability of the title and its longevity. The gameplay is strongly based on the combat with the white weapon – thanks to the katana supplied with the Avalon – and on the dodges performed with the right timing, even though there is a secondary secondary weapon. If you are a lover of this genre and are ready to throw yourself into frenetic battles and levels loaded with enemies, Implosion is undoubtedly a title to be held in high regard, above all by virtue of its qualities mentioned at the beginning.
No timers, no app purchases or other additional monetization systems: Implosion – Never Lose the Hope is a game that looks towards the console world and that tries – successfully – to reproduce the same quality level of much more expensive productions, offering a solid gameplay, a very nice graphics section and an equally well-characterized audio. The game is also available for Nintendo Switch.
If, on the other hand, you are not looking for a purely offline title, but want a new multi-player competitive game, we would like to point out the mobile version of Armajet (it is also available on Steam and cross-platform cross-platform is active). This is currently present on the Play Store and on some versions of the App Store (not in Italy), since we are not in front of the final version of the game, but we are still in beta.
But what exactly does Armajet offer us? In simple terms, this is a multi-player, horizontal scrolling, multi-player shooter featuring 2.5D-style graphics (3D models and backgrounds but 2D title setting) and support for high frame rates. This allows you to get the most out of your gaming phone – if you have one – because you can choose to play 30, 40, 50, 60, 90 and even 120FPS.
The basic gameplay is very simple: we have 2 teams of 3 players that challenge each other in arenas characterized by corridors and vertical spaces, in which each player can move using the jetpack installed in his character’s suit. This in itself represents a first strategic element, given that the propulsive backpack can only be used for a few seconds in a row (but there are no limits to the number of times), so it is good to study when to use it to escape or to chase an enemy remained with little life.
Each player can choose to create and customize 3 different builds (called Loadouts), modifying the main weapon, the type of grenade and the Ultimate move. At the beginning of each match it is possible to choose which one to equip, but this choice is not definitive, since at every death there will be the possibility of returning to the game with a different build. The aim is to get more kills than the opposing team within the time limit, or to reach 30 kills first. Inside the arenas there are also additional bonuses that can be collected by the players to heal themselves, increase the damage and so on.
As usual, there is no lack of purchases in apps linked to cosmetic elements, however the development team is keen to point out that there is no pay-to-win element, since the game is strongly focused on its metagame and on the creation of builds and weapons. This commitment should be a guarantee for anyone who wants to invest their time on Armajet, given that there should never be occasions when the gameplay may be affected by imbalances due to paid content.
We point out that the debut of the Android version was accompanied by a partnership with Razer and its Raiju Mobile controller, however we were unable to use the Rog GameVice controller. Not that it’s a problem, since the on-screen control system is very simple and intuitive. It is in fact the classic one with two twin sticks: on one side we find a lever dedicated to moving, while on the other the one for aiming and fire, surrounded by the keys for throwing grenades and activating the Ultimate.
So if you are willing to jump into the fray, you are attracted by the thick and complex metagame that orbits the title, you want to play fast and immediate games (matchmaking is practically instantaneous, thanks to the cross-platform) and you are looking for the classic simple game to start and hard to master, Armajet can be just what you’ve been looking for.
4.FIRE EMBLEM HEROES
We conclude the month with Fire Emblem Heroes, one of the most famous and profitable Nintendo titles on mobile platforms. Contrary to all the other games that we have presented to you this month, Heroes is a real child of his era because of the presence of gacha elements, purchases in the app and everything that goes with it. However, net of these elements that many consider to be negative, this mobile edition of Fire Emblem manages to offer the basis for the strategic gaming experience that has been so successful on Nintendo consoles.
The Fire Emblem series has always offered us a story that tells of the clash between different kingdoms of a medieval setting, proposing the events of places and families belonging to different eras and geographical areas. Heroes exploits the clash between the nations of Askar and Embla to put us in the shoes of a summoner who has the power to recall the heroes from all the worlds of the Fire Emblem saga, transforming the mobile game into a real crossover for the whole series . The plot is constantly evolving with the release of new chapters that enrich the details of the game world and the relationships between the various protagonists.
You will therefore understand that the evocations are nothing more than the classic pullers, which allow you to access fighters of rarity and variable power, which you can increase in level, merge, let them learn new skills and give them equipment to enhance their fighting skills. In short, classic elements of a freemium title.
Despite this, the gameplay is quite complex and articulated. All the battles take place in 8 x 6 arenas in which the characters can be moved according to their characteristics: some will be faster, others will be able to fly and then overcome precipices or mountains more easily. Combat takes into account the type of weapon used and the hero’s class, thus making it necessary to weigh the composition of one’s team well so as to make it balanced and always competitive.
Being a tactical role-playing game, no element of combat relies on random elements, so it is always a matter of choosing and adopting the best possible strategy, anticipating the moves that AI will take and always trying to take it to a disadvantage, perhaps attracting his units in an isolated area or hitting them at a distance with archers or magic attacks. These are important details, since each time two units collide, both will have an attack phase. This means that when you go to hit an enemy you will also have to take into account his reaction, so it is safer – for example – to attack a swordsman from a distance who cannot counterattack because he is too far away and so on.
Net of the presence of stamina – necessary to start each mission – and of the summoning orbs, Fire Emblem Heroes is perhaps the best choice for all those who want to approach the saga or who want to bring with them a condensed version of Fire Emblem and not I’m too scared of freemium mechanics.
In addition to the main campaign that represents the backbone of the title arc, Heroes also offers many other game modes. Among these we find Rocche Eteree (where we can build our own base and attack those of the other players), the fighting in the Arena, the Training Tower, the Special Maps (necessary to unlock new characters or equipment) and the classic periodic events. The game is constantly expanding, with the addition of fighters (over 200), equipment and narrative arcs that allow Fire Emblem Heroes to offer a fresh and renewed experience.